Prince William proved he is the people’s prince when he talked movingly to a little girl who has just lost her father following a cancer battle. The third in line to the throne, who will be marking 20 years since the death of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, said: “Do you know what happened to me? You know I lost my mummy when I was very young too. I was 13 and my brother was 12.”
He told little Aoife that she should talk about her daddy, saying it was important not to bottle up her feelings. The Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge were on a joint public engagement to the Child Bereavement UK Centre in Stratford, which provides help for families when a child dies, or when a child is coping with bereavement.
The royal couple sat down with children to help them make memory jars which were filled with layers of sand. Each layer was designed to represent a memory of their loved one. Prince William and Kate also met with staff and volunteers as well as families.
Prince William has been royal patron of Child Bereavement UK for seven years. It is a cause he can strongly identify with, having lost his mother when he was still very young. He has previously said that he carries his grief with him every day, and not a day goes by that he doesn’t think about his mother. However, he said he has learned to cope and that he can now revisit happier memories he has of his mother.
The charity was set up in 1994 in the presence of Princess Diana, as her best friend is a founder patron. Julia Samuel has remained close to Prince William over the years following the Princess of Wales’ death, and is godmother to his son, Prince George.